Improve Your Self-Esteem With Posture
The Best Posture Equals a Most Positive Power
"Stand strong." "Look like a winner." How many of us have heard similar words of encouragement, only to wonder, how does that actually work?
Research reveals how power posing impacts self-esteem, and the way you see yourself can impact the way you are perceived by others.
Sit Up: Stand Out
You may have heard that good posture is not only healthy physically, but helps you make a great first impression. Exuding both competence and confidence, by standing tall, you can make a powerful statement without saying a word.
But there is more.
According to research, power posing also improves the way you view yourself.
Most people engage in some level of self-analysis from time to time.
We think through our strengths and weaknesses, review our positive traits and not-so-positive habits. Have you ever considered what you are doing and how you are sitting, lying, or standing when you go through this mental self-reflection?
According to research, it might make a difference.
Pablo Briñol et al. examined the effects of body posture on self-evaluation.
Specifically, beginning on the concept of embodied attitudes, they investigated the way in which body posture has the potential to impact self-evaluations by affecting thought confidence.
In their study, participants were asked to consider and write down what they would describe as their best or worse qualities — while positioned in one of two ways: either in a confident posture- sitting down puffing out their chest with their back erect, or in a doubtful posture- slouched forward with their back curved.
Participants were then asked to complete a self-evaluation task.
Sure enough, Briñol et al. (ibid.) found that consistent with the self-validation hypothesis, the impact of thoughts, positive or negative, on self-related attitudes was significantly greater when participants wrote them down while sitting in the confident rather than the doubtful posture.
The authors note that interestingly, the difference in posture did not impact the quantity or quality of thoughts, only the confidence with which they were held by participants.
Positive Self-Evaluation: Learning to Like What You See
When it comes to body image, most people are their own worst critics.
When other people see us, they rarely see the same person we see looking back in the mirror; and the difference can be dramatic.
True, some people see themselves in a more positive light physically than others do; most don’t.
So the question becomes, how does perceived physical appearance impact mental wellness?
And does positioning matter?
Mart Miragall et al. (2018) examined posture in connection with literal self-reflection, by looking into a mirror.
They recogned mirror exposure (ME) as one of the main components of eating disorder treatment, noting its impact on perceived body satisfaction.
Regarding what body posture should be used for positive outcomes, they note that an expansive (as opposed to contractive) body posture has been linked with improved emotional and cognitive responses.
In their research, studying 68 women who expressed high levels of body dissatisfaction, Miragall et al. (ibid.) found that women in the expansive condition experienced higher positive emotions after the ME.
They further found that the improved positive emotions stemming from adopting an expansive posture prompted improvements in negative emotions, body image satisfaction, and body self-evaluation.
Positioning For a Positive View
Reflecting on these findings, literally and figuratively, apparently not only is beauty in the eye of the beholder, but this is true even when the beholder is the beholden. And apparently, seeing is believing, especially when positioned for a positive view.
This column was originally published in Psychology Today.
Wendy L. Patrick, JD, MDiv, PhD, is an award-winning career trial attorney and media commentator. She is host of "Live with Dr. Wendy" on KCBQ, and a daily guest on other media outlets, delivering a lively mix of flash, substance and style. Her over 4,500 media appearances include these major news outlets: CNN, Fox News Channel, HLN, FOX Business Network and weekly appearances on Newsmax. She is author of ''Red Flags'' (St. Martin´s Press), and co-author of The New York Times bestseller "Reading People" (Random House, revision). On a personal note, Dr. Patrick holds a purple belt in Shorin-Ryu karate, participates as a concert violinist with the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus, and plays the electric violin professionally with a rock band. Read Dr. Wendy L. Patrick's Reports — More Here.
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